The San Francisco Deltas face a grim future, but whatever happens to the club, the Deltas will be remembered for being crowned champions of the NASL in their first season.
Goals from Thomas Heinemann and Devon Sandoval lifted the Deltas to a 2-0 win against the defending NASL champion New York Cosmos in the league final, played in front of a sold-out crowd of 9,691 at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco on Sunday.
After each side tested their luck earlier in the match, Heinemann opened the scoring in the 19th minute with a penalty kick after James Maurer fouled Jackson inside the penalty area.
Heinemann came close to doubling the lead before halftime, but Maurer kept the goalscorer out in the 40th minute.
Emmanuel Ledesma’s left-footed effort in the 64th-minute came close to leveling the score, before Lucky Mkosana also was kept out by Romauld Peiser.
Eugene Starikov’s header in the 77th-minute kept the Cosmos knocking at the door, but things would change in the final minutes. The Deltas slammed the door on any comeback, as Sandoval’s close-range finish capped off a superb playoff run.
Peiser made four saves for the shutout, while Maurer made four in the loss.
The title victory capped off raucous celebrations for fans who may not have a team after Sunday amid persistent rumors the Deltas will cease to exist after the 2017 season.
NASL itself faces an uncertain future as it continues to fight in court to maintain its Division II status despite U.S. Soccer’s decision to reject the NASL’s application for Division II status. The NASL is appealing a failed bit to secure an injunction to block U.S. Soccer’s decision, and the league could reportedly cease operations if it can’t succeed in having U.S. Soccer’s decision overturned.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Heinemann earned man of the match honors, scoring what proved to be the winning goal in the championship. The forward also had other chances to add to the lead, and was a pest for New York all evening.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
New York had chances to level the score earlier in the match, but Sandoval’s insurance goal sent the home crowd crazy. The goal was the perfect ending to a superb performance by the title winners.
MATCH TO FORGET
Cosmos playmaker Juan Guerra was extremely quiet for New York, failing to record a shot on goal. Normally a focal point in the team’s build-up play, Guerra failed to do much in the loss.